Over 400 Opera Professionals to Convene for OPERA America’s Opera Conference 2013: Opera Out of Bounds
May 7–11: Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver Opera to Co-Host In Association with Opera.ca and Opera Volunteers International
Special One-Day Companion Symposium to be Held in New York City at the National Opera Center on May 8
Seven Sessions of Field-wide Impact to be Streamed Live at operaamerica.org
OPERA America, the national nonprofit service organization for opera, is pleased to announce details of Opera Conference 2013: Opera Out of Bounds, to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia from May 7–11. Co-hosted by Vancouver Opera, and in association with Opera.ca and Opera Volunteers International, this largest annual gathering of opera professionals in North America will convene at venues in the bustling downtown section of the city. This marks the second time that the conference is being held in Vancouver; the city previously hosted in 1999.
OPERA America’s annual conference presents a unique opportunity for industry leaders to examine issues affecting the opera community from a variety of perspectives. Conference attendees will delve into the impact of opera and opera companies in today’s society, as the art form’s definition continues to expand beyond traditional forms and opera companies extend their reach outside the opera house to the entire city. With Vancouver, one of North America’s most dynamic and diverse cultural capitals, as a backdrop, Opera Conference 2013 will explore strategies for connecting with new communities, ideas for richer audience engagement and advances in technology to increase opera’s impact.
Opera Conference 2013 Highlights
Learning sessions and events planned for opera conference attendees are designed to cover all facets of this multidisciplinary art form and address the concerns of creators, presenters and supporters. Among the many conference-wide sessions, performances, showcases and participatory events at Opera Conference 2013 are:
- The Opening Keynote Address by Don M. Randel, former president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation;
- The New Works Forum, which nurtures more informed producers and creators of new operas, and establishes stronger relationships among them;
- The Singer Training Forum, for those who are dedicated to the identification and development of aspiring singers;
- The Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase, a biennial program fostering the development of promising stage directors and scenic designers by connecting them with key decision makers at opera companies in a showcase of their work;
- Performances of Tan Dun’s Tea: A Mirror of Soul by Vancouver Opera in its Canadian premiere run;
- Harnessing the Power of Learning, a participatory session demonstrating the power of crowd-sourced learning to inform and engage audiences, led by Douglas McLennan, founder and editor of ArtsJournal;
- Opera Out of Bounds in the Opera House, focusing on nurturing community relationships through both new works and creative productions of standard repertoire, with panelists Arlene Gladstone, Vancouver Opera Foundation; Robert McQueen, stage director; Timothy O’Leary, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Robert Sirman, Canada Council for the Arts; Christopher Theofanidis, composer; and James W. Wright, Vancouver Opera;
- Achieving Boundless Impact, featuring innovative projects from within and outside the arts that have extended impact and built customer loyalty, with presentations by Ann-Li Cooke, innovation consultant; Scott Gelband, Seattle Music Partners; J. Joly, dimeRocker | CineCoup; Sandra Singh, Vancouver Public Library; and Sonny Wong, Artspoints;
- Showcase: A Decade of New Canadian Opera, a concert presented by Opera.ca, celebrating the richness, creativity and impact of the Canadian Opera Creation Fund;
- OPERA America’s New Works Sampler, with performances of works-in-progress and recent premieres, featuring the wide spectrum of musical styles employed by today’s emerging and established composers; and
- The Closing Keynote Address, delivered by San Francisco Opera’s David Gockley, who is a leader in making opera relevant to the broadest possible public.
- A series of more than 20 Open Sessions provide conference attendees with valuable and practical information in specific administrative areas, including marketing, fundraising, governance, artistic planning, education and audience development. For the second straight year, Opera Conference 2013 is presented in association with Opera Volunteers International. Throughout the conference, a number of sessions address the important role that volunteers play in the success of the local opera company.
- On Saturday, May 11, OPERA America presents a special Artist Intensive program for artists of all levels, taking place at The Michael and Inna O’Brian Centre. This day-long professional development workshop features feedback auditions, portfolio reviews, one-on-one mentoring sessions with industry experts, panel discussions and presentations.
See attachment for additional Opera Conference 2013 program details.
“We are delighted to bring the opera conference back to beautiful Vancouver, a city made vibrant by its multitude of cultures,” stated OPERA America President/CEO Marc A. Scorca. “At a time when live transmissions of operas to venues like movie theaters, ballparks and the web are rapidly on the rise, and potential customers increasingly experience opera through mobile apps, games and social media, we are seeing traditional boundaries of our art form fade. With a dynamic mix of artists and administrators from all areas of the opera industry in attendance from throughout North America and beyond, Opera Conference 2013 reflects these movements in our industry,” he continued.
Out of Bounds in Action
The innovative thinking and valuable tools gained during Opera Conference 2013 are not limited to those able to travel to Vancouver. Select sessions will be streamed live on OPERA America’s website at operaamerica.org and archived on the organization’s YouTube channel (YouTube.com/OPERAAmerica). Conference attendees and live stream viewers are encouraged to interact and share highlights on Twitter with the hashtag #OperaConf.
Sessions streaming live from Vancouver at operaamerica.org are:
- New Works Forum: Wednesday, May 8, 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. PDT (12:00-3:30 p.m. EDT)
- Opening Keynote Session: Wednesday, May 8, 2:00-3:15 p.m. PDT (5:00-6:15 p.m. EDT)
- Harnessing the Power of Learning: Wednesday, May 8, 3:30-5:00 p.m. PDT (6:30-8:00 p.m. EDT)
- Opera Out of Bounds in the Opera House: Thursday, May 9, 9:00-10:30 a.m. PDT (12:00-1:30 p.m. EDT)
- The Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase: Thursday, May 9, 3:30-5:00 p.m. PDT (6:30-8:00 p.m. EDT)
- Achieving Boundless Impact: Friday, May 10, 9:00-10:45 a.m. PDT (12:00-1:45 p.m. EDT)
- Closing Keynote Address: Saturday, May 11, 9:00-10:30 a.m. PDT (12:00-1:30 p.m. EDT)
A new addition to the conference agenda for 2013 is the Opera Out of Bounds NYC day-long symposium, taking place at OPERA America’s National Opera Center in New York City on May 8. Opera Out of Bounds NYC explores the scope of the independent opera movement in New York. In addition to a New York City-based keynote address, panel sessions and roundtables, attendees will participate in and interact with several of the Vancouver sessions via live stream and social media. More information about Opera Out of Bounds NYC is available at operaamerica.org/NYCSymposium.
OPERA America gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Opera Conference 2013 sponsors:
- American Express
- The Arts Insurance Program
- Bank of America
- Canada Council for the Arts
- Dean Artists Management
- Emerging Pictures
- Figaro Systems, Inc.
- Music Publishers Association of the United States
- National Endowment for the Arts
- Opera Theater of Pittsburgh
- Province of British Columbia
- Quarterline Design Management, Inc.
- Schuler Shook
- Tessitura Network
- Wells Fargo
Follow the conference conversation on social media with #OperaConf and @OPERAAmerica.
Conference Program Details
General Sessions bring together the entire conference constituency to explore topics that affect all aspects of the opera field. These sessions include:
Opening Keynote Address. Don M. Randel will give the keynote address that will launch Opera Conference 2013 with a powerful articulation of the value of the arts. Randel is the former president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a musicologist and scholar, former president of the University of Chicago, and one of our field’s most eloquent spokespersons.
Harnessing the Power of Learning. Douglas McLennan, founder and editor of ArtsJournal and dynamic Opera Conference 2012 keynote speaker, returns to lead a participatory session that will demonstrate the power of crowd-sourced learning to inform and engage audiences at all levels of experience. His presentation will introduce the latest in open-source technology and distance learning.
Opera Out of Bounds in the Opera House. Community engagement cannot be relegated to programs in alternative venues alone. Authentic community relationships must be nurtured in the opera house, too. Hear from producers and artists who have been successful in building bridges between opera companies and audiences through new works and creative productions of standard repertoire that have local resonance. Panelists are: Arlene Gladstone, Vancouver Opera Foundation; Robert McQueen, stage director; Timothy O’Leary, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Robert Sirman, Canada Council for the Arts; Christopher Theofanidis, composer; and James W. Wright, Vancouver Opera.
Achieving Boundless Impact. Adaptive changes should be integral to the work of every organization. Learn from a wide variety of leaders from within and outside the arts, who have extended civic impact, built customer loyalty and explored the very nature of innovation itself. Presentations by Ann-Li Cooke, innovation consultant; Scott Gelband, Seattle Music Partners; J. Joly, dimeRocker | CineCoup; Sandra Singh, Vancouver Public Library; and Sonny Wong, Artspoints.
Closing Keynote Address. The conference concludes with a closing breakfast and keynote address by San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley, a dynamic leader of one of the nation’s most important companies. Gockley’s dedication to making opera relevant to the broadest possible public continues to expand the impact of the art form.
More than 20 open sessions will be offered during the course of Opera Conference 2013, addressing the needs of staff, trustees, volunteers and other industry professionals in the areas of artistic and artist training, management, development, finance, marketing, public relations, volunteerism and technical/production. Among these sessions are:
- Effecting Change: Data-Driven Turnarounds (Finance/Administration)
- Fundraising for the Future: The State of Endowments in the Field (Development/Fundraising)
- Marketing for Culture and Connection (Marketing/Public Relations)
- The Many Dimensions of Capacity Building (Trustees/General Directors)
- Atmospherics Onstage: Smoke and Fog Permissions (Technical/Production)
- Mapping Your Company’s Civic Footprint (Development/Fundraising)
- Evaluation in Opera Education and Community Engagement (Education/Community Engagement)
- Who is Responsible for Fundraising? (Trustees/Development)
- Leveraging the Voice of Volunteers and Artists (Volunteer/OVI)
- Opera on Screen: Simulcasts and Streaming (Artistic Administration)
- The Art (and Science!) of Opera Ticket Pricing (Marketing/Public Relations and Finance/Administration)
These workshops provide an extended opportunity for in-depth learning about a focused topic, prior to the start of the main conference. Opera Conference 2013 seminars include:
Electronic Media, exploring the latest developments in multimedia, especially the strategic and practical implications of these advances.
Moves Management, the process of managing donor relationships from initial identification through cultivation and solicitation.
Leadership Advance, providing the most promising emerging leaders in the field of opera administration with the skills and contacts needed to advance to an executive level position.
New General Directors Roundtable, a peer learning group consisting of recent appointees to their first chief officer/general director positions.
Networks and Forums
Several of OPERA America’s special learning forums will meet during the conference, including the:
New Works Forum, which nurtures more informed producers and creators of new operas and establishes stronger relationships among them.
Finance and Administration Forum, a series of sessions, roundtables and networking opportunities for leaders in finance, technology, operations, human resources and administration.
National Trustee Forum, several sessions for opera company trustees explore best practices in opera company governance.
Technical/Production Forum, a discussion of collaboration in training and apprenticing the next generation of technicians for U.S. and Canadian companies.
Leading opera artists and administrators provide vital career advice at this special one-day workshop featuring feedback auditions, portfolio reviews and one-on-one mentoring sessions with industry experts, as well as panel discussions and presentations on a variety of professional development topics for artists at all stages of career advancement. Participating professionals include: Neal Goren, Gotham Chamber Opera; Nancy Hermiston, University of British Columbia; Lee Anne Myslewski, Wolf Trap Opera; Nick Olcott, Maryland Opera Studio; Christopher Powell, Pittsburgh Opera; Alia Rosenstock, Dean Artists Management; Ian Rye, Pacific Opera Victoria; Katherine Semcesen, Canadian Opera Company; and Erling Henry Wold, composer.
Opera Performances and Special Events
The Canadian premiere of Tan Dun’s Tea: A Mirror of Soul at Vancouver Opera, an extraordinary fusion of Western opera and Eastern myth from the Academy Award-winning composer of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon! Dun's haunting and beautiful opera makes its Canadian premiere on the Vancouver Opera stage. Tea: A Mirror of Soul makes use of Western and traditional Chinese instruments, as well as paper (in large panels that are "played"), ceramic bowls (that sound like gamelan bells) and stones. Even orchestra members play paper, by rhythmically flipping the pages of their scores. The result is an extremely innovative, moving opera.
Showcase: A Decade of New Canadian Opera, a concert presented by Opera.ca, celebrating the richness, creativity and impact of the Canadian Opera Creation Fund. Selections include:
- Alternate Visions by John Oliver & Genni Gunn, submitted by Chants Libres
- Brothers Grimm by Dean Burry, submitted by the Canadian Opera Company
- Filumena by John Estacio & John Murrell, submitted by Calgary Opera
- Lillian Alling by John Estacio & John Murrell, submitted by Vancouver Opera
- Mary's Wedding by Andrew MacDonald & Stephen Massicotte, submitted by Pacific Opera Victoria
- The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G by Aaron Gervais & Colleen Murphy, submitted by Tapestry New Opera
- Transit of Venus by Victor Davies & Maureen Hunter, submitted by Manitoba Opera
OPERA America’s New Works Sampler, with performances of works-in-progress and recent premieres, featuring the wide spectrum of musical styles employed by today’s emerging and established composers. Selections include:
- Khaos by Don Macdonald & Nicola Harwood, submitted by The Amy Ferguson Institute
- Cold Mountain by Jennifer Higdon & Gene Scheer, submitted by Opera Philadelphia
- Sumeida's Song by Mohammed Fairouz, submitted by Peermusic Classical
- The Gospel of Mary Magdalene by Mark Adamo, submitted by G. Schirmer
The Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase is OPERA America’s biennial program to foster the development of promising opera artists. Working from a diverse list of American operas, emerging director-designer teams were asked to submit a production proposal including narrative, research images and/or design sketches. Finalists received a stipend to create more complete renderings and models for their concept to present during this session.
Building Opera Audiences, featuring presentations of innovative audience development projects receiving funding from OPERA America’s newest granting program, generously funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.
Naomi’s Road, a 45-minute work presented by Vancouver Opera — designed for touring to schools and community venues — that details a young Japanese Canadian girl’s experience as her family is interned during World War II.
Special Offer for the Vancouver Arts Community
OPERA America has tailored a special conference package of events for patrons, trustees and staff. For just $95, the package provides access to select conference sessions featuring some of the most influential arts leaders that address vital issues affecting the entire arts industry. Sessions included in the package are:
- Opening Session and Keynote Address
- Harnessing the Power of Learning (General Session)
- Opera Out of Bounds in the Opera House (General Session)
- Vancouver Opera's Naomi's Road and Close to Home Panel Session
- Achieving Boundless Impact (General Session)
- Showcase: A Decade of New Canadian Opera and OPERA America’s New Works Sampler
For more information on OPERA America, visit About Us.
For press inquiries, contact Press@operaamerica.org or 212.796.8628.